In both China and the United States, social issues are a very real part of everyday conversations. Ranging from racism to holidays, ticket scalpers to college entrance exams, Chinese students and their American study abroad roommates engage in a variety of discussions on social problems and phenomenon in the contexts of both China and the United States.
Many of our conversations revolve around daily events and routines. Between the more exciting aspects of the study abroad experience are the everyday conversations where study abroad students discuss topics such as life in the dorms, shopping, and leisure activities.
Cultural differences, traditional culture, and pop culture such as movies and music are all integral to learning a new language and a new place. Developing an understanding of China’s diverse cultures and history and being able to make comparisons to your own culture are very useful skills when studying abroad.
Study abroad students often spend months and even years planning their trips abroad. For many, studying abroad is a major stepping stone to a future career. Planning one’s future and expressing personal aspirations and desires are important for any language learner.
A hallmark of the study abroad experience in China, food will be an important part of daily conversation. For study abroad students, ordering, buying, and eating food are everyday events that can be much easier by learning key phrases and vocabulary. Conversations here also include discussions about food/taste preferences, special dietary needs, and restaurant reviews.
Students of Chinese who study abroad often find that the perfect world of textbook dialogues is more of a fantasy. Learning to understand new accents and dialect differences is a difficult but rewarding part of the study abroad experience. Learning to talk about language itself also allows students to ask for clarification on unfamiliar words or grammar.
No study abroad student arrives at their destination completely familiar with the nation, city, and university they plan to study in. Study abroad students will find themselves talking more and more about places and locations as they discover new tourist attractions, restaurants, and well kept local secrets.
Just like the typical college life in the US, study abroad students also frequently discuss their social relationships and friendships in their dorm rooms. In this category, there are conversations about boyfriends/girlfriends, friends at school, and relationship in general. They also gossip about their friends in Chinese.
Learn how to tell stories related to personal histories and life experiences, such as traveling, studying, having pets, and social events previously attended.
A hallmark of elevator smalltalk, study abroad students can expect to discuss weather in China. Pollution and environmental topics are also serious issues that study abroad students and Chinese citizens alike discuss and debate.